19 January 2016 | Cynan Clucas
Bjork is a strategic planning genius. In her 1993 hit, Human Behavior, she sang about why data analysis would be needed to created a personalised customer experience. “They’re terribly, terribly, terribly moody of human behaviour”, she wrote; “Then all of a sudden, turn happy”.
The "Big Data" Deluge
That’s people in a nutshell - unpredictable. And it’s the reason why organisations spend so much resource on data and analytics - to make things more predictable.
In his book, Igniting, Andrew Fawley comments that:
“Brands know more about customers…than ever before. But translating that knowledge into actionable insights and real and lasting customer connections remains the pressing challenge facing marketers.”
What he’s saying here is that organisations spend too much time accumulating data -- and not nearly enough time understanding it or knowing how to analyse data effectively.
Data accumulation for its own sake is self-defeating. Organisations have been promised that big data has all the answers, and while this is hard to deny, it’s only true if you know what questions to ask.
Most organisations are overwhelmed by what Fawley calls the ‘data deluge’, and marketers simply don’t know what to look for in their data. So they focus on the stuff that’s easy to understand, but delivers no real value - transactional data.
Source: The Economist
Transactional Data Alone Is Not Enough
Transactional data is one-dimensional. For example, by looking at customer purchasing activity, inventory levels and turnover, decision-makers can identify their most profitable customer segments and get answers in real-time that can be used to help make short-term business decisions and longer term plans.
We’re simplifying for brevity, but transactional data will tell you that something happened, not what factors influenced it happening, what is likely to influence it happening again, or how it made your customer feel about your brand.
In short, it won’t help you build a meaningful relationship with a customer.
Salesforce CEO, Marc Benioff, tells us how it is:
“The world is being re-shaped by the convergence of social, mobile, cloud, big data, community and other powerful forces. The combination of these technologies unlocks an incredible opportunity to connect everything together in a new way and is dramatically transforming the way we live and work.”
If you want to get meaningful, actionable insight from your data, you really need to understand why someone chooses to give you their business. To do that, you need to uncover the patterns in your data that shed light on the decision-making habits, context and intent of your audience.
The transformation that Benioff is talking about comes from this level of understanding.
The Vital Role Of The Customer Journey
Analysing behavioural data, for example --
- Search terms used to find your website;
- Devices used to view it;
- Location and time of day when it’s being browsed;
- Previous interactions with your content;
- Social media preferences
-- and optimising your customer journey around the insights that this data gives you, allows you to identify your audience’s needs, challenges and aspirations and align them to your company’s goals.
That’s the start of optimising your customer journey.
Based on this collective behavioural data you can group customers into more sophisticated clusters and begin to test messaging, content and offers to identify where the greatest propensity for response comes from.
You can still use transactional data to populate these messages with content which you know is relevant to the individual customer.
Tailoring A Personalised Customer Experience
In combination, this approach allows you to build progressively enhanced marketing messages which become more tailored with each interaction between your organisation and your customer.
As Ginni Rometty, President and CEO of IBM says:
“Big Data will spell the death of customer segmentation and force the marketer to understand each customer as an individual within 18 months or risk being left in the dust.”
For many clients, Big Data still seems like the domain of large enterprise.
When we meet clients to discuss optimising their customer experience, there are five basic questions that we ask, which oftentimes, prove difficult to answer:
- Who are you selling to?
- Which audiences are researching your company and why?
- What should you be offering them?
- Where and when do they prefer to discuss / receive services?
- How can you give them what they want?
Typically asking these questions results in us being granted to Google Analytics or to a CRM (email marketing) platform where there is a list of customer names and addresses and in transactional models, purchase / email engagement history.
But if a company wants to offer a personalised customer experience with seamless, dynamic, fluid and personalised interactions, they need to be open to transforming their processes across the organisation.
Personalised and integrated web content, email and mobile marketing has until recently only been available to large enterprises through highly bespoke systems. But new, agile software platforms are now making truly tailored, personalised customer experiences affordable and attainable for a much broader range of organisation.
Tracking, Measuring And Actioning Real-Time Data
Inbound marketing platforms like Hubspot track and measure real-time, actionable data about every kind of content delivered on every touchpoint, to every user / customer, creating a more agile and responsive customer journey that progressively enhances marketing messages based on evolving understanding of your customers’ interests, context, and intent.
That’s the foundation of a great customer experience. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. And it is transformative.
Every organisation can now adopt an intelligent data-driven approach to bring customers the tailored information they want, when they want it, in the format they prefer so that they can get done what they need to do as quickly as possible with the minimum effort.
When Bjork wrote these lyrics from Big Time Sensuality:
“I can sense it...something important...is about to happen...it’s coming up”.
...she was definitely talking about personalisation and optimising the customer experience. Right?
If you want to discuss which parts of your data to focus on to optimise your customer experience like Bjork, we’d be really happy to have a chat.
- Accumulating data for the sake of it is pointless
- Transactional data will only tell you so much about your customers
- You need to know what questions to ask to start to build meaningful relationships with your customers
- Layering behavioural data over transactional data offers an opportunity to create a personalised customer experience
- Marketing platforms like Hubspot track, measure and automate real-time, actionable data about every kind of content for every kind of user in every kind of context.